Independent Investigations Office
For Immediate Posting
Surrey – The Independent Investigation Office of B.C. has filed a report to Crown Counsel in relation to an in-custody death involving Smithers RCMP.
On February 14, 2015, at approximately 10:30 p.m., officers responded to a complaint involving an adult male at a residence. Officers located the male affected person and he was transported by police to the Smithers RCMP detachment cells. While in cells, on February 15, 2016, the affected person became uncooperative and a physical struggle took place. During the physical struggle between the affected person and RCMP officers, the affected person lost consciousness. He was transported to the local hospital and was later transferred to another hospital where he remained until February 21, 2015 when he died.
The Chief Civilian Director of the IIO has completed his review of the investigative file and, pursuant to Section 38.11 of The Police Act, has forwarded a report to Crown for consideration of charges. This is required when the Chief Civilian Director considers that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment.
The threshold for referral to Crown is lower for the IIO than for other law enforcement agencies in the province.
The IIO does not make a recommendation on whether charges should be approved. Under the Crown Counsel Act, the Criminal Justice Branch has jurisdiction over the charge assessment and charge approval process.
In approving charges, the Criminal Justice Branch must be satisfied not only that an offence may have been committed, but that the commission of an offence can be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal Justice Branch policy provides that in making this assessment Crown counsel will apply a two-part test:
- There must be a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the investigating agency.
- A prosecution must be required in the public interest.
Under these circumstances, no public report will be issued by the IIO and no further information will be provided.
Acting Director, Public Engagement & Policy